The DXCC “Canary in the Coalmine”

While writing about BQ9P – Pratas Island on my DXCC Sleuth Blog

I realized that I often think about DXpedition announcements in terms of Three Tiers:

  1. Very Rare due to remoteness, cost, harsh weather. This includes all of the South Seas entities that do not have a permanent scientific base
  2. Entities that are Remote or have significant Environmental rules that prohibit access to once in a blue moon
  3. Everything Else, with “artificially rare” entities (like BS7H and SV2ASP/A being the lowest of the low, and something I call “bullshit entities”. The worst of these being ones added so someone could then claim they activated it first. But I digress.

Baker, KH1, and Ducie, VP6D are in the Second Tier. I almost remember Ducie being added when someone changed the DXCC Distance Rule (which would qualify it as a bullshit entity), but I just don’t remember. It’s at least much more reasonable than say Scarborough or Mt. Athos. To my surprise, Pratas might have been the first gerrymandered entity due to dropping the distance rule to 200 miles separation from a mainland. It sure was part of a pattern started in the 90’s.

San Felix, Kure, Navassa and Desecheo are examples of Tier 2 entities. Many times, they are as exciting as Tier 1 entities, because while Tier 1 entities might be activated once every 15 – 20 years, Tier 2 might be activated every 10 years. Since I made Honor Roll in 11 years, a 10 year wait is a big deal.

The funny thing about the gerrymandered entities is that one DXCC “Elmer” of mine admitted that he got his Honor Roll plaque when there were only 315 entities on the list. Sure, he had to work new ones to stay on the list, but he admitted that today – given how hard it is to get to all these places that adding more entities might appease those who have already made it (and are “bored”), but that it makes it that much harder for newbies to even qualify for Honor Roll, and that we are now at a point where if you started today, it will be impossible to make HR #1. In his words “Today’s Honor Roll is incrementally harder than when I made it, and I wish they never created #1 HR or The DXCC Challenge”. Me personally – I don’t really care – go after whatever is there – we all get to pick and choose. But I was surprised that he had such candor anyway.

To me, especially after 3Y0Z failing at a cost of $750K, I think that really is the canary in the coalmine – it seems like a turning point of sorts – and bridge too far if you will. Lets see if 3Y0I happens – I thought $400K for VK0EK – Heard Island was extreme . . .

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